Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

33

Nik Bärtsch's Mobile: Continuum

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
The timing couldn't have been better. Following up on the stunning double-CD live outing, Nik Bärtsch's Ronin Live (ECM, 2012), Bärtsch returns with his acoustic group, Mobile, for Continuum. With clarinetist Sha and drummer Kaspar Rast crossing over from Ronin, a new addition, Nicolas Stocker, on drums and percussion completes the core quartet. A string quintet augments three of the eight tracks, infusing a multiplicity of effects in the process.

Mobile has been around for almost twenty years now with the Swiss pianist and composer, Rast and Ska as original members. They first released Aer (Tonus Music) in 2004 and there began the realization of Bärtsch's unique vision of stylistically punctuating formalized musical structures while incorporating cross-cultural and cross-genre influences. The result has been music that is both disciplined and elastic with a literate quality and mesmerizing beat.

"Modul 29_14" opens quietly; a repetitive pattern of notes and chords that eventually goes to a funky, but similarly repetitive mode. In stark contrast, "Modul 12" is a minimal piece dominated by piano and brushes, the snare sometimes working against silence. "Modul 18" introduces the strings, though in a very subdued manner that adds a shadowy feeling rather than an obvious classical influence. Bärtsch flashes keyboard brilliance on "Modul 5," a lightning fast cascade of notes that quickly flickers out at its conclusion. The strings return on "Modul 60," this time more clearly a chamber piece with a theatrical feel. The long "Modul 44" offers a similar ambience but here, the tremolo of the strings builds and adds more tension as the piece progresses.

Mobile remains a vehicle well suited to Bärtsch's sophisticated approach to composing and arranging. There is less of the Asian influences that inspired some of Bärtsch's earlier work with the group, but Mobile remains an inclusive amalgam of progressive jazz and minimalism. Without dominating the pieces in which they appear, the strings add something new to that pallet, reflecting Bärtsch's interest in György Ligeti and other classical composers. With its variety of styles, Continuum is the best of Mobile's albums to date, despite the very high bar set from the beginning.

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Mar20Wed
Nik Bärtsch
World Cafe Live - Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA
$25

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Bulería Brooklyniana Album Reviews
Bulería Brooklyniana
By Dan Bilawsky
January 23, 2019
Read At The Hill Of James Magee Album Reviews
At The Hill Of James Magee
By Mark Corroto
January 23, 2019
Read Stomping Off From Greenwood Album Reviews
Stomping Off From Greenwood
By Mike Jurkovic
January 23, 2019
Read Live: The Rites of Spring Festival 2018 Album Reviews
Live: The Rites of Spring Festival 2018
By Roger Weisman
January 23, 2019
Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019